Follow these tips to help ease your worries.
Did you know that stress is linked to almost every major illness in the United States? Heart disease, cancer, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer's--they are related to stress in some way or another or can be made worse by it. Most people deal with stress on a daily basis, whether it's external with work, marriage, family and friends, or internal, as we struggle with personal expectations and goals.
The good news is that there are several easy ways we can squash the stress every day. Here are seven tips to help you bring a bit of peace back into your life:
1) Head Outdoors
Feeling cramped in your cubicle? Getting cabin fever after taking care of the kids all day? Maybe it's time to head into the great outdoors. Spending time outside, soaking up the sun and breathing in the fresh air are great ways to get a new perspective. Mother nature is the original stress reliever. Bring a good book and relax in the backyard, or take your lunch outside, if it's a particularly nice day. Get out and feel your spirits lift up!
Spending some quiet time in God’s Word is one of the best ways to occupy your mind and relieve stress. Block out thirty minutes in your day and have a one-on-one with your Maker. Or, if you have a break between meetings at the office, sneak inside a conference room and let God know about whatever it is that’s on your mind. He’s the best therapist and He’s always available.
3) Chill Out
Have you ever heard the expression “Take a chill pill?” If you didn’t grow up in the ‘90s or you’ve never had kids, maybe it sounds a bit foreign to you. All it means is, relax, take it easy, don’t worry. Unfortunately “chill” doesn’t come in pill form for most people, so instead, schedule some downtime for yourself. Take an hour to start on that book you just bought (reading is a great stress reliever), jam out to some of your favorite tunes or make yourself a hot cup of tea. Do something that’s just for you and see how enjoyable “chilling out” can really be.
How many of us walk around with our cellphones glued to our palms? If you’re constantly on your phone, your computer or your tablet, checking emails and managing projects for work, you’ve never really clocked out (no matter what your timecard says). Give yourself 30 minutes at home to get caught up on emails and work and then unplug. Put your phone in a drawer or, better yet, turn it off completely so that you aren’t tempted to use it again. Instead, spend time with your family, plug into your kids and find out how their day went or just take some quiet time for yourself. Distract your mind from work by completely ignoring it and focusing on what makes life really valuable, self-care and the people you love.
5) Get Physical
A good workout is one of the best ways to relieve stress, but if you don’t have the time in your day to drop by the gym or if SoulCycle and Zumba just aren’t your thing, start small. Take a walk, go for a hike, ride your bike around the neighborhood, these are all easy ways to get your heart pumping, your blood racing and your mind relaxing. Another great workout that you can do from home is yoga. You don’t have to stretch your body into unnatural positions or remember the names for every pose, but buying a quick 20 minute yoga workout DVD and going through the motions will calm you down and work you out better than any personal trainer ever could.
6) Write it Down
When we’re stressed we have a tendency, almost a desire, to complain out loud to others. Sometimes venting our frustrations helps, but it never really solves the problem. Instead of voicing the cause of your stress, write it down. Make a list of everything that you’re struggling with and then try to come up with some ways of dealing with each issue. Having trouble with a co-worker? Maybe it’s time to take him out to lunch and talk through the problem. Scribbling down your stressers and then also putting to paper a plan of action for dealing with them will keep you accountable and put things into perspective.
7) Take a Vacation
Who doesn’t need a vacation at some point? Taking a break from your normal life is the best way to unwind. It’s an escape and one that we all need eventually, but if you don’t have the time or the ability to take off weeks at a time, why not try taking mini-vacations. A three-day weekend is the best time to take a short trip to that far off destination you’ve been meaning to visit. While you'll only have to catch up on one day's work when you return to the office, you’ve treated yourself to three days of blissful relaxation.